Freedom from Demonic Strongholds
I taught this at the Cornerstone Church on Sunday, April 29, 2018.
FREEDOM FROM DEMONIC STRONGHOLDS
Part 4 of Free Indeed. Colossians 3:11-15
Peter Foxwell. The Cornerstone Church. April 29, 2018.
NEXT WEEK AND THE WEEK AFTER
Before we get started, let me mention what is coming next week and the week after:
Next Sunday, Lord willing, I'm going to give a one-part teaching called URGENT! It is based on two verses in Romans 13. This is for people like this:
If you've ever felt like there has to be more to your Christian experience, but you can't figure out what it is.
That you were built with a HEMI engine, but you operate like a lawn tractor.
That the Lord has put a vision and a destiny in you and it's time to step into it.
Your heart is cold and complacent and you want fire!
OK. So, that's next week.
The week after, we start a new teaching series called Chapter One.
It's a look at the character of God displayed in the first chapter of several Old Testament books. The first chapter one is 1 Samuel 1: Our God remembers. It's Mothers' Day, so the teaching is all about God's promise to every mother and daughter. Invite your moms and daughters and everyone else.
A. WHAT IS A DEMONIC STRONGHOLD?
I'm teaching today on freedom from demonic strongholds. Let's begin by figuring out what a demonic stronghold is. In Ephesians 4:26-27, it says this, ""In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold." The word "foothold" means "place, possibility, opportunity, chance."
The verses are saying: If we stay angry long enough, and don't deal with conflict in a healthy, godly way, it gives an opportunity for demonic interference in our lives and in our church.
So ... let's make that a general statement: If I won't let God rule over an area of my life - it could be something in my thoughts, attitudes, or lifestyle - demons will rule over it instead. And that's a demonic stronghold.
Now, let's go back to Colossians 3. I want you to see how we can allow strongholds in our lives and then I want you to see how to get free.
B. HOW DID I GET BOUND BY A DEMONIC STRONGHOLD?
I can show you this best with a diagram. Begin at the bottom of the pyramid on the left.
Life happens - situation: This is whatever life brings us: events, experiences, crises, relationships, words spoken over us. For example, Getting lost in a store at age four.
Heart/root - interpretation: Our hearts interpret everything that happens to us through a grid or lens. The "you" in verse 3 and the "old self" in verse 9 refer to a godless, unbelieving grid/lens interprets getting lost in the store without faith - ignores God, blames God, is full of anger, fear, shame, hopelessness. Creates a bitter root that poisons our lives, relationships, faith.
Mind - thoughts: Unbelieving interpretation produces lying/bitter thoughts - verse 5: "mind set on earthly things". Ephesians 4:17 - "futile thinking." Either: "I'm god - give me prestige, power, & control." OR "I'm alone, worthless. I'm unforgivable. I can never be clean. I'm unloveable." OR "Don't trust anyone, everyone is a threat." Pride and insecurity always go together.
Choices - lifestyle: Lying/irrational thinking lead to godless lifestyle choices - verses 5-11. And these are the open door the demons look for. The list in Ephesians 4:25-32 is the same plus the added "do not give the devil a foothold."
Result - captivity: Demonic strongholds. We find ourselves in bondage to sins, obsessions, addictions, emotional turmoil, physical symptoms. We feel totally bound, powerless to get free. How can we get free?
That's how we get bound. Now, let's figure out how to get free.
C. HOW CAN I GET FREE FROM A DEMONIC STRONGHOLD?
Here's the diagram again. Colossians 3 shows us how to be free. Start at the bottom of the pyramid on the right.
Life happens - situation: Same as before. Still lost in the store at age four.
Heart/Root - interpretation: Now my lens/grid is rooted in all I am in Christ, verses 1-4: I'm alive, raised, seated, safe, loved. Yes, I got lost in the store, and yes it was scary, but I am not filled with fear, anger, blame. I know God is doing good to me; he'll never leave me. I am BLESSED not bitter.
Mind - thoughts: The healthy root/heart leads to healthy thinking: verse 10 "the new self." Healthy thoughts accepting Bible truth- verse 1-4: "I'm always, loved, forgiven, accepted, safe, significant. Christ is with me and for me, giving me strength, help, hope ..."
Choices - lifestyle: Listed in verses 12-15. Loved, forgiven, and healed people love, forgive, and heal people. We speak life. We're generous, serving out of the overflow of all we've received from God.
Result - captivity: Christ is our stronghold - our fortress of strength and safety. We're captured by his love, forgiveness, acceptance, authority. And if we'll stay in the fortress Christ, we'll resist the devil and his stronghold will collapse.
Jesus sets us free step by step, in a set order. You have to begin at the beginning: Interpretation, heart, thinking, then the lifestyle, then freedom. Don't begin with your behavior. Begin with your basic beliefs and work up and out. Do it all confident of this: Jesus has dominion over every demon:
Colossians 2:10, 15 "He is the head over every power and authority." ... "Having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross."
CONCLUSION: FIRST STEPS TO FREEDOM
Neil Anderson has written several helpful books on spiritual freedom in Christ. I've listed them on the Resources sheet on the book table. In his Steps to Freedom in Christ, he lists seven doorways to demonic strongholds in your life and the steps to freedom. I've listed them and a link to his website in the appendix to today's booklet. Talk to me if you want some help getting free.
I want you to see how this works, so let me lead you through getting free from one stronghold - one that is the result of a heart of rebellion against God and other authority - parents, police, employer. I chose this example because I think it is little talked about, yet it is very common.
Maybe it applies to you, maybe not. Follow along anyway. Anderson writes:
"Rebelling against God and His authorities is serious business. It gives Satan an opportunity to attack you. Submission is the only solution. God requires more of you, however, than just the outward appearance of submission. He wants you to sincerely submit to your authorities (especially parents) from the heart."
"The Bible makes it clear that we have two main responsibilities toward those in authority over us: to pray for them and to submit to them. Pray the following prayer from your heart:
"Dear heavenly Father, You have said in the Bible that rebellion is the same thing as witchcraft, and being self-willed is like serving false gods (1 Samuel 15:23). I know that I have disobeyed and rebelled in my heart against You and those You have placed in authority over me. I thank You for Your forgiveness for my rebellion. By the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, I pray that all doors that I opened to evil spirits through my rebellion would now be closed. I pray that You will show me all the ways I have been rebellious. I now choose to adopt a submissive spirit and a servant’s heart. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen."
To go to the Freedom in Christ website for more resources, click here.